Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku speaks at the Sri Lankan National Day Celebration in Beijing on Feb 4, 2017. [Photo by Chen Liubing/chinadaily.com.cn]
China's Belt and Road initiative has boosted trade, tourism, and cultural exchange and cooperation between China and his country, said Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Sri Lankan ambassador to China, during the Sri Lankan National Day Celebration on Saturday.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will attend the Belt and Road Initiative Forum on May 14-15 in Beijing and propose further cooperation, the ambassador added.
Saturday marks the 69th Anniversary of Independence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. and the ambassador offered a retrospect on bilateral diplomatic ties with China. The year 2017 is very important as it is the 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries and is the 65th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact between China and Sri Lanka.
As the first South Asian country to recognize the People's Republic of China, Sri Lanka has worked closely with China in various aspects. Thanks to the Belt and Road initiative of China, Sri Lanka is receiving more and more investment from Chinese companies in trade and economic zones, which will be of significant assistance in building its capital, Colombo, into an international financial city in South Asia and the world, the ambassador said.
More than 2,000 Sri Lankan students are studying in China and the number is expected to grow year by year. Besides the Chinese language, many Sri Lankan students are learning Chinese medicine and business courses in China, as Chinese medicine is emerging in South Asia.
As a traditional tourist resort, the scenery and religious attractions in Sri Lanka have attracted millions of Chinese each year, thanks to mouth-to-mouth publicity among tourists. The country aims at attracting more than 2 million Chinese tourists by 2020, the ambassador said.
Flag-hoisting ceremony at the Sri Lankan National Day Celebration in Beijing on Feb 4, 2017. [Photo by Chen Liubing/chinadaily.com.cn]
By Chen Liubing